Is it just me or has the past two weeks seemed to be the longest year? To say that just a few months ago none of us really knew much about the new coronavirus is breathtaking to say the least. Anyone can think, speak, question themselves.
In an age of uncertainty, confusion and chaos, being a person recovering from alcohol or someone who has tried to quit drinking can be a unique challenge. For many of us, our routines, our regular sober meetings in person and our ways of staying connected in our community have been compromised. These face-to-face interactions are often the backbone of our sobriety. But now, through the very important global practice of social responsibility through social distancing, we are forced to be creative with new strategies for how to stay sober.
And, to be honest, it’s a hell of a time to try to get or stay sober. As a sober person, the idea of staying, introvert and taking advantage of downtime is not what happens to me. What makes things a little more difficult are all the messages on #quarantinis, virtual happy hours, alcohol stocks and quarantine memes having “the same rules as the airport”, suggesting that cocktails at 9am are a good idea. For someone who is sober recently, or for the person who has tried to cut down or stop drinking, this can be particularly difficult and triggering. Those who have questioned their relationship with alcohol may find the bombing of other people making their way through the crisis and eventually relapsing into the habits they were trying to quit.
All things considered, let’s take a look at some tips for staying sober during a global pandemic while taking the necessary precautions to quarantine yourself:
1. Establish consistent and healthy routines.
As the days go by and the unknown continues to unfold with the news swirling in all directions, it is easy to feel unearthed and bewildered. We were forced to get out of our normal routines and find ourselves in circumstances for which we were neither prepared nor ready.
In sobriety, having consistent routines is key, so establishing them under these new conditions is super important. Tasks like making your bed, showering, or dressing for the day may seem simple, but they can make a big difference. To go further, try to add things like eating on your regular schedule, having time off for journaling or reading, doing something fun like making tea or creating a mocktail and sticking to a good one. sleep schedule.
And, if you can, meditation is a great practice to add to your routine right now, as it could help relieve some of the stress, anxiety, and depression you are going through (you can read more on the benefits of mindfulness meditation here). Some great meditation apps to try are Insight timer, Calm App, or Headspace.
2. Stay connected virtually with the recovery community and your sober friends.
Many in the sober community rely on 12-step meetings to maintain their recovery. Fortunately, we live in a digital age where Zoom calls and online meetings are readily available. The face-to-face meetings had to act quickly once the news started to surface about the importance of avoiding face-to-face gatherings. We have seen a wave of AA meetings move online and space leaders have stepped up to host virtual gatherings in response to everything.
In the bedrooms is a great resource for people looking for 12-step meetings with multiple online meetings per day. Other resources that take a little more of a non-traditional approach, offering various ways to stay online with certified sobriety coaches holding space for people are The Hangover Free Club, She recovers and This naked mind connection. No matter what style you want, there are many ways to stay connected with understated support. Physical distance does not necessarily mean complete separation.
3. Practice media distancing in addition to social distancing.
Staying away socially is not the only practice we need right now – media distance, as I like to call it, is just as important. We are in an unprecedented situation right now, and it is natural to want to keep all of the information you can get safe. But as traffic and media engagement increase, your mental health is likely do not go in the same direction and, in fact, can be negatively affected. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be paying attention to what’s going on in the world, but it’s critical to set limits on when or how much data you use.